A moment of your time to help you decide if we can work together. Firstly, I hope you are interested in my work as an artist, and not just someone who can push a button on a camera. As a photographer I not only document true moments, but I create art out of those moments.
I believe that when you book me as your photographer you have had a look at my work, either on my website, or on my Facebook page, and that you've seen something that you've liked, and this is why you contacted me. I hope you understand that I'm not into copying other artists' work. If you like another photographers' work over mine but booked me because I was running a promotion or was more affordable, I beg you to just save your money and book the photographer who's work you love.
Photographs are one of those things that actually do last just about forever, so make sure the one you book is doing the things you want for your session. Photographers are a dime a dozen, and it's difficult enough to develop and maintain your own style and creativity - every time a client requests another photographers' work to be copied it chips away at our own creativity. Yes, we are always open to incorporating certain aspects of a different shoot, but if you can't show me any images on my own website or portfolio then you shouldn't be booking me. I might not be mainstream, I'm not everyone's cup of tea, but I don't just do this to pay the bills. I do it because I love photographing people and creating art pieces out of memories. Price shouldn't be a final factor in who you book to photograph those you love most. If you have to save a bit to afford the photographer who's work you love then it will be so much more special when you can finally hang their art work up on your wall.
Telling your photographer after the fact that their style doesn't suit you is no excuse when you go home unhappy. It is up to you to communicate with your photographer, showing them samples of their own work which you love and making sure you actually do LOVE their work and they're not just the first, cheapest or closest photographer to you.
Print your images with your photographer. Yes, they will be charging you more than your local one hour print shop. Because when they print your artwork they do it on the highest quality photo paper, ensuring the colors are exactly as they've intended and won't fade in a couple of years, and the timelessness of your memories will be vivid for as long as possible.
Be open to suggestions and to creative direction. And be willing to just go with the flow. Sometimes the best shots are super posed and sometimes they are moments that happen naturally, but know that the final results of your photographs do not entirely depend on your photographers ability to push the button at the right time. We work together to create an art piece of your loved ones, and if you or your young ones don't follow direction well, then there's only so much we can do with the release of the shutter before we start sounding like a drill sergeant or possibly offending someone. If you've got a rambunctious young lad/lady that might damage expensive studio equipment then maybe an outdoor shoot would be more suited to your family. If you have shy kids who dislikes getting their feet wet or sandy or muddy, then a studio shoot might be your best option. But you need to have strategies in place to help keeping young ones listening and entertained, and you need a lot of patience and time so that your kid can get comfortable with the photographer. Some kids take a bit longer than others to warm up to the idea of having some stranger stick a camera in their faces... Yes, as a photographer I do have certain strategies that works with most kids...but sometimes your kids are not most kids and that's fine, then it's up to you to bring out the big guns and help me create a special moment that's going to be gold for me to capture...I see photographers and clients in a very symbiotic way. It takes a whole lot of technical and creative skill from me as a photographer and a whole lot of faith in the direction of your photographer from the client. If I was a photographer of models and celebrities, I have a person that is used to having a camera stuck in their faces, most of the time they are being paid to be there, and you have a photographer, used to people following direction and being more than happy to be in front of the camera. So they work together - that's why celebrities have the best portraits/photographs of themselves. They know what it takes to create awesome images, and they are willing to 'work' for it - but being a photographer of families and children, well that's a whole new challenge. I often find the most difficult families are the ones where there's at least one member who doesn't follow direction well and that somehow causes everyone else to not follow direction well either. The best family portraits are ones that truly display your familial identity. And that's what my aim is when I photograph a family - to capture that truth for you. But to be able to capture that truth, you need to show me that truth. You need to be comfortable enough with me in your space to just be who you'd be without the lens there...and most of the time I manage to be at ease with my clients and get them to be comfortable enough for me to capture their true smiles. So, if you love MY photographs, I would love to meet you and capture your family :-)